Considered the doyen of Norwegian portrait photography, Hans Jørgen Brun (1945) runs his own studio and gallery in Bergen. In 1967, after serving an apprenticeship with Jan H. Reimers, he received his Crafts Certificate.
Ten years prior to moving to his current premises opposite Bergen Cinema - Konsertpalèet in 1980, Hans set up his first business, in tiny modest premises facing onto a backyard, in another area of the city. In 1984, he spent a brief period in New York with the late, well-known American photographer, Arnold Newman. This experience, resulting in a workshop in Norway’s capital city Oslo and a large exhibition together at the Oslo Town Hall, played a major role in Hans Jørgen’s future development. Always achieving a high artistic level of skill in his craft, he is a constant inspiration for photographers both locally and internationally.
Brun’s images immediately show the viewer his talent for composition and natural knack for staging, without exaggerated posing. His method of lighting up a face and the surrounding interior creates a distinctive depth. The individuals, the people, in his portraits seem totally at ease in the situation, their body language and expressions giving an impression of dignity. The photographer’s ability to capture the moments and situations which arise are blatantly obvious in most of his work, revealing his trained eye, intuition and timing.
Hans finds working with the analogue process in the darkroom equally important as taking the photographs themselves. He is one of the few Norwegian photographers who does all the darkroom processes himself, both in colour and black-and-white.
Hans Jørgen Brun is Norway’s most credited photographer with countless awards to his name, amongst these, seven times winner of the Norwegian Society of Photographer’s Photographer of the Year. International magazines have compared him to the likes of the previously mentioned Arnold Newman and the famous Armenian-Canadian portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002). He holds the title of both European Master of Photography and Fellow of British Institute, Master of Photography. He has lectured in both the USA and Europe.
Art historian Professor Gunnar Danbolt summarises him thus: “Brun’s artistic portraits are astonishingly varied, even though they follow a long tradition within both painting and photography. They do not express his own understanding of the artist’s role, but rather attempt to create a picture of the artist he is portraying”.